Despite being released several years after its competitors, the Atari 7800 still managed to make a mark in the gaming industry with its impressive library of games. Many of these games became popular classics and helped to establish the Atari 7800 as a beloved console among retro gaming enthusiasts.
This list of best Atari 7800 games may not have the flashy graphics or complex storylines of modern games, but they more than make up for it with their charm and simplicity. From racing to fighting to catching tiles, the Atari 7800 had a little something for everyone.
Flap your wings and battle it out in the sky with Joust, one of the most iconic and best Atari 7800 games.
You control a knight riding on a giant bird, and your goal is to defeat your enemies by knocking them off their mounts by hitting them at a faster speed. But be careful – if you collide with an enemy from above, you’ll both be killed!
With gameplay that balances challenge and frustration just right, Joust is a must-play for any classic arcade game and Atari fan. The game’s difficulty gradually ramps up as you progress, with new types of enemies and obstacles introduced to keep things fresh.
Joust’s two-player mode is also a blast, as you and a friend can team up and battle it out in the skies together.
Looking for a game that’s all about getting rid of bugs? Well, in Centipede, you can do just that – and you don’t even need a can of bug spray.
Centipede is easy to pick up but difficult to master. A centipede slowly makes its way down the screen, changing direction when it hits a wall or obstacle. Your goal is to shoot the centipedes to split them into smaller segments, which will then each continue their own path down the screen.
If the centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, you lose a life. There are also mushrooms scattered throughout the playfield, which can either help or hinder you – they can provide cover from the centipede’s attacks, but they can also block your shots.
Centipede is the classic formula of simple yet addictive gameplay, Centipede is a true classic of the Atari 7800 library.
Are you tired of playing boring old basketball games where all you do is shoot hoops? Well, in Basketbrawl, you can finally live out your dream of being a basketball player who also knows how to throw a punch. As the name suggests, it’s basketball mixed with brawling!
You play as a rough basketball player trying to score points while also punching and kicking your opponents. Yes, you read that right – this game is a mix of basketball and brawling, and it’s as wild and wacky as it sounds.
The gameplay of Basketbrawl is fast-paced and chaotic, with players running up and down the court, trying to steal the ball and score points while also taking out their opponents. You can punch and kick your way past defenders, or you can use the ball itself as a weapon, throwing it at your opponents to knock them down.
The game’s graphics and sound are also top-notch for the system, representing the Atari 7800’s abilities well.
Are you ready to take on the robotic hordes of the future? In Robotron 2084, you’ll play as a lone survivor fighting off wave after wave of killer robots. It’s like Terminator, but without Arnold Schwarzenegger or time travel or catchy one-liners!
You are trapped in a maze filled with robots that are trying to kill you. Quite simply, you must use your blaster to take out the robots while also avoiding their attacks.
With its frenetic pace and intense difficulty, Robotron 2084 is not for the faint of heart. But for those who are up for the challenge, it’s an incredibly rewarding and satisfying gaming experience.
Robotron 2084 is a game that certainly puts your reflexes and hand-eye coordination to the test.
Are you tired of playing games where you have to save the princess or defeat the evil empire? Well, in Dig Dug, you play as a little guy with a shovel who just wants to dig some holes and pop some monsters.
In Dig Dug, you’ll dig your way through a series of underground tunnels, searching for monsters to defeat. You can use your trusty shovel to dig holes and create traps for the monsters, or you can pump them full of air until they pop.
As you progress through the levels, the enemies become more challenging, and you’ll need to use different strategies to take them out.
Dig Dug is a game that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master, with plenty of replay value for those who love a good challenge and easily one of the best Atari 7800 games.
Tired of playing boring old golf games where all you do is hit a ball around a golf course? Well, in Ninja Golf, you can finally live out your dream of being a ninja who also happens to be really good at golf.
In this game, you play as a ninja who is trying to make his way through a golf course filled with dangerous obstacles and enemies.
The gameplay is split into two parts – the first part is a traditional game of golf, while the second part is an action-packed ninja battle where you’ll need to take out enemies with your martial arts skills. With its unique blend of golf and action gameplay, Ninja Golf is a true hidden gem and one of the best Atari 7800 games in the library.
Give Ninja Golf a try – it’s the perfect game for anyone who always wanted to be the oddly dual skilled golfing ninja.
Yes, that Mario – the same one who would go on to become one of the most iconic video game characters of all time.
Mario Bros. was actually released for the Atari 7800 before it was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and it’s just as fun on both consoles.
In this game, you play as Mario (or his brother Luigi in two-player mode), trying to take out enemies by flipping them onto their backs and kicking them away. As you progress through the levels, the enemies become faster and more challenging, and you’ll need to use your wits and quick reflexes to stay ahead of them.
It’s the perfect game for anyone who wants to punch out some turtles and save the day. And who knows, you might even get to rescue the princess (spoiler alert: you won’t!).
Are you ready to experience the ultimate power fantasy of being a one-man army and taking out entire armies of bad guys? Well, in Commando, you can do just that – and you don’t even need to worry about running out of ammo or getting a cramp in your trigger finger.
Your mission is to infiltrate enemy bases, rescue hostages, and take down enemy leaders. And with its intense and fast-paced gameplay, Commando will test your skills in strategy, reflexes, and trigger control.
Give Commando a try – it’s the perfect game for anyone who wants to experience the thrill of being a one-man army.
Are you ready to become a karate master and rescue the princess from the evil warlord Akuma?
In Karateka, you play as a martial arts expert named Thon, who must use his skills to defeat Akuma’s minions and save the princess. The game features a unique fighting system, with different moves and strategies depending on the opponent.
But don’t let the game’s simplicity fool you – Karateka is a true challenge, with difficult enemy patterns and limited lives.
With its beautiful graphics and immersive sound effects, Karateka is a true masterpiece of the Atari 7800 library. The game’s difficulty gradually ramps up as you progress, making it a satisfying challenge for gamers of all skill levels.
Catch some tiles and save the world from a tile apocalypse, well, sort of!
In Klax, you’re tasked with catching falling tiles and stacking them to create lines of matching colors. The game starts off relatively easy, with only a few tiles falling at a time, but as you progress through the levels, the tiles fall faster and the patterns become more complex.
To make things even more challenging, some tiles have special properties – for example, some tiles explode when they’re matched, while others can be used to create combos for extra points.
With its addictive gameplay and catchy techno soundtrack, Klax is a true gem and one of the best Atari 7800 games – a must-play for any puzzle game enthusiast.
Pole Position II
Rev your engines and get ready to race in Pole Position II, a classic arcade game that launched with the system and stood the test of time to remain of the best atari 7800 games.
In this game, you’ll need to navigate a series of tracks while avoiding obstacles and competing against other drivers. The game’s controls are simple yet responsive, allowing you to feel like you’re really behind the wheel of a high-speed race car.
With its fast-paced racing and impressive graphics for the time, Pole Position II is a true testament to the power of the Atari 7800 console.
For arcade racer fans, Pole Position II is an absolute must-play and was a superb title for the Atari 7800 to launch with.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Are you ready to take on the role of a monkey and save your dad from a crazy carpenter (Before you correct me, Mario used to be a carpenter before he was a plumber, right?).
In this game, you play as Donkey Kong Jr., trying to rescue your father from the clutches of Mario. The game’s controls are simple yet intuitive, with Donkey Kong Jr. able to climb vines and swing from ropes in order to navigate through the levels.
The real fun comes from the gameplay mechanics, as you use your monkey skills to climb vines, avoid obstacles, and collect fruit. It’s like being a primate ninja, but with more bananas and fewer throwing stars.
An excellent arcade conversion, Donkey Kong Jr. stands out as one of the best Atari 7800 games.
The Atari 7800 may have been released later than its competitors, but it still managed to establish itself as a beloved console, especially among Atari fans.
The console’s impressive hardware, which allowed it to play both Atari 2600 and 7800 games, made it a versatile option for gamers who wanted to experience both old and new titles. And while it ultimately failed to compete with the more popular consoles of the time such as the NES, its legacy lives on through its impressive, but small library of arcade games.
If you are looking to experience the Atari 7800s modest game library, check out our best Atari 7800 emulator article, and you’ll be enjoying these classics in no time whatsoever!
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).